Cranberry Juice for a UTI: Does It Really Help?

One in five women will have at least one Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in their lifetime. Some scientists give an even narrower estimate, claiming that one in three women will experience a UTI.

UTIs occur when a certain type of bacteria enters the urinary tract. As the bacteria multiply, swelling, pain, and infection can occur. Some UTIs can lead to bladder infections if not treated right away.

A UTI can be incredibly painful, especially for women who have never experienced one before. But luckily they can be treated in many ways.

The best way to treat a UTI is with antibiotics.

However, it’s possible to seek out alternative, inexpensive treatments for an uncomfortable UTI. One of these involves drinking cranberry juice.

A lot of women wonder of consuming cranberry supplement for a UTI actually works. In this article, we’ll answer this question and give you the insight you need to manage a UTI homeopathically!

What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

Both men and women can get urinary tract infections. However, because women have shorter urethras than men do, they are more susceptible to contracting an infection.

A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) occurs when the bacteria E. coli enters a woman’s urethra and lingers there. As it multiplies, this bacteria can cause inflammation, pain, and possibly further infection.

In fact, it is very common for E. coli to spread to any part of the urinary system itself, including the bladder and the kidneys.

If not monitored, some UTIs can quickly become bladder or kidney infections as the bacteria multiply within the urinary tract itself. These can be life-threatening if not addressed right away.

UTIs sound intimidating, but they are far more common than most people realize. We know that 20% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime. What’s more, at least a third of these women will get a second UTI.

It’s important to be informed about the causes of UTIs in order to take preventative measures against contracting an infection.

Causes

The singular cause of a UTI is the presence of E. coli itself in an individual’s urinary tract. However, E. coli can enter the urethra for a variety of reasons.

Sexual activity is one of the most common causes of UTIs. Sex can easily transfer bacteria from a partner’s urinary system to the other’s. Similarly, because E. coli exists in our gastrointestinal tract, it can also travel into the urethra during sexual activity.

This is why most medical professionals advise that women urinate within thirty minutes of engaging in sexual intercourse, as this can effectively flush bacteria from the vaginal cavity. Urinating can also prevent bacteria from adhering to vaginal walls.

Contrary to common belief, you should not clean your genitals after having sex to prevent a UTI. This can actually alter natural bacteria flora and pave the way for an infection.

It is important, however, for both partners to clean their genitals before sexual activity.

Constipation or other irritable bowel conditions can also lead to urinary tract infections. Once again, this is because E. coli bacteria live in the gastrointestinal tract.

Constipation can make it difficult for individuals to empty their bladders, which means that bacteria have a greater opportunity to breed and fester.

Both constipation and sexual activity are the most significant culprits when it comes to contracting a UTI. Other causes of UTIs include dehydration, kidney stones, and diabetes.

Some children are born with urinary tract dysfunction or diseases, which make them more susceptible to UTIs. Elderly individuals can also easily contract UTIs, particularly if they do not engage in thorough bathing routines.

Symptoms

For the most part, a urinary tract infection is fairly easy to spot. It’s particularly obvious for women who have experienced UTIs before or are more prone to contracting UTIs than others.

The basic symptoms of a UTI include burning or painful sensations experienced when trying to urinate. An individual with a UTI will feel the frequent need to urinate but may not be able to pass any urine.

If you do have to urinate, doing so will be incredibly painful. Burning sensations can linger even after you have urinated.

These sensations may be intense and localized, even if you are not able to pass any urine whatsoever.

Other symptoms include pain experienced in the groin, lower abdomen, pelvis, or lower back. Some UTIs also cause whole body aches, pains, fatigue, and fever. Serious UTIs may result in blood in the urine itself or foul-smelling, cloudy urine.

It’s important to diagnose and treat these symptoms immediately so that a UTI does not develop into a life-threatening infection.

Who is at Risk

Women are far more likely to contract UTIs than men are. For this reason, they should use extra caution when engaging in sexual activity.

However, men can also contract UTIs, despite having a much lower risk of doing so.

If you are easily constipated or have diabetes, it’s also important to monitor UTIs. Diabetic individuals can experience changes in their immune system, which can make them more susceptible to infections.

If you have kidney stones or other urinary tract blockages, you are at higher risk of contracting a UTI. The same goes for people with catheters, which can accumulate bacteria in the bladder itself.

Pregnant women can be at higher risk of UTIs and should be sure to seek medical attention if one develops. This is because bacteria can enter the vaginal activity and pose risks to a fetus’s health.

Children can also get UTIs, although it is not very common.

How Women Can Treat a UTI

In general, the most effective way to prevent a kidney or bladder infection is to take antibiotics. Antibiotics can eradicate E. coli in the urinary tract and make sure that an infection does not spread.

In fact, if you find yourself constantly getting UTIs, you may need to regularly take antibiotics to lower your susceptibility. We recommend consulting a physician for more information and guidance.

If you do have a UTI, it is possible to use alternative methods for treatment. Physicians recommend drinking plenty of fluids to help flush bacteria from a urinary tract.

In particular, women suffering from a UTI can drink cranberry juice or take cranberry supplements to manage the infection.

Studies show that cranberry juice can directly target UTI bacteria within eight hours. In fact, cranberries themselves contain active compounds that fight and eradicate E. coli from the body’s urinary system.

Specifically, these compounds prevent E. coli from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract itself. If bacteria cannot adhere to a woman’s urethra, they simply don’t have the option to gather together, multiply, and spread an infection.

What’s more, cranberries may actually alter the composition of bacteria so that they can’t cling to urinary tracts.

Drinking a large amount of cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements can prevent UTIs and alleviate UTI symptoms. While studies have yet to support the fact that cranberry juice alone can halt a UTI, it can play a huge role in recovery.

This can be beneficial for women who don’t wish to seek out antibiotics. It’s also relatively affordable.

People with diabetes or other blood sugar issues should be sure to use cranberry juice that is sugar-free or low in sugar content. In fact, we recommend choosing a juice that contains only natural sugars or other fruit juice sweeteners.

Using Cranberries to Treat and Prevent UTIs

Cranberries give women a wonderful homeopathic means of addressing UTIs.

Studies have yet to claim that cranberries alone can cure a UTI, but they can be helpful in preventing UTIs from occurring in the future. They can also help women process UTIs faster, especially with the aid of antibiotics.

So, how can you use cranberries to treat and prevent UTIs?

It’s possible to consume high amounts of cranberry juice to help alleviate symptoms and prevent future UTIs. While there is no set recommendation for how much juice you should drink, it’s important to consume juice as symptoms persist.

It’s important to note, however, that not all cranberry juice has high concentrations of cranberries. Many juices are “cocktails,” which means they may incorporate other fruit juices and added sweeteners.

Choose a cranberry juice that has a high cranberry content and is low in sugar for maximum benefit. Keep in mind that cranberry juice can be quite tart and almost sour, which may be tough for some people.

In fact, cranberry supplements may be a more effective solution for preventing UTIs. Supplements have higher concentrations of the cranberry than standard juices.

They can also be more affordable in the long run, and don’t come with a bunch of added sweeteners!

What to Do If You Experience a UTI

Let’s talk about steps you can take if you think you have a urinary tract infection.

1. Identify Symptoms

It is possible to experience burning sensations while urinating and not have a UTI. Cloudy urine can also occur for reasons that don’t involve the urinary tract itself.

That being said, be sure to identify all symptoms you are currently experiencing. Pay particular attention to any symptoms that could suggest a spreading infection, like lower abdominal and back pain, or pain in the groin.

Fevers and nausea can also be good indicators of kidney or bladder infections.

2. Supplement With Cranberry

The moment that symptoms start–and if they persist–start supplementing with cranberries, either by drinking copious amounts of juice or taking supplements in pill form.

Be sure to hydrate in addition to drinking juice, if you go the juice route. This can aid in flushing the bacteria out of your system.

Keep taking cranberry supplements (or drinking juice) throughout the extent of your UTI.

3. Visit Your Physician

Because some UTIs can quickly become more serious infections, stop by your local clinic for a diagnosis. This will likely involve your physician taking a urine sample, confirming your infection, and prescribing antibiotics.

Take these antibiotics throughout the extent of the UTI–and don’t forget to keep drinking that cranberry juice!

4. Take Cranberries Consistently

We recommend relying on cranberries for days and weeks after any UTI, especially if you are a woman prone to contracting these infections. Doing so can ensure that no lingering bacteria stay in the urinary tract to multiply there.

If you take supplements, simply add these to your usual vitamin routine.

Final Thoughts: Does Drinking Cranberry Juice for a UTI Work?

Experiencing a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) can be incredibly painful and irritating. It can also be dangerous if not treated right away, as many UTIs develop into kidney or bladder infections.

If you have a UTI, we recommend consulting a medical professional right away. A physician will probably take a urine test before prescribing antibiotics.

Sometimes antibiotics are the only solution to preventing a serious infection. They are also important for women who regularly contract UTIs.

In the meantime, however, it is essential to drink cranberry juice or take cranberry supplements to monitor, prevent, and alleviate symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

So, does drinking cranberry juice for a UTI actually work? It actually does!

Cranberries are packed full of active compounds that can prevent E. coli bacteria from clinging to the lining of vaginal cavities and urinary tracts.

For this reason, cranberry juice can limit the accumulation of E. coli bacteria and minimize the symptoms of a standard UTI.

Cranberry supplements can be especially helpful for women who want to prevent contracting a UTI in the future. These come in pill or multivitamin form and can be taken on a daily basis.

We recommend using cranberry juice or supplements as a preventative measure against UTIs. It’s important to seek out antibiotics in order to treat more severe UTIs and prevent infections from spreading to the kidneys.

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